Dec 082010

On the eve of Catherine losing her workout bet to me and owing me a “dream date”, Sal got a little cocky.

We got into a little disagreement about some of the themed gingerbread men/women created by his classmates.  I think a certain student made the princess gingerbread lady in the upper right corner of the wall…Sal thinks is it someone else.

He wanted to challenge me on it.

We went over who wins when they challenge me.  Mom?  Ben?  Shawn?  EJ?  Sal?

He was going to break the streak.  He felt he was due.

He got out of his chair during dinner to do a little celebration dance.  A very premature celebration dance.  But it was fun talking to him about winning, losing, and the mindset one has going into a challenge.  He was confident.  I told him my reasoning and how I pay attention in class.  He countered with the fact that he’s in class more than I am.  He knows the students better than I do.  And the person I was claiming was the gingerbread’s creator was in another country, taking an early holiday.  But I saw her bring her gingerbread lady in on her last day.

He was unmoved.

So, then I asked him want he wanted to risk.  What did he want to win?  (Considering he is asking for ‘Marbles’ for xmas this year, I thought this wouldn’t be too high stakes.  Though he did talk me up from a rock to getting marbles, so I was also ready for some negotiation.)

He hardly paused before answering: “A hug.”  He can be sweet.  But he also knows his chances are slim.  I bet Dan and Ben are thinking a hug would have been better to bet than a family steak dinner on Tiger Woods right about now.

As I continued to gloat, I let Sal know that I wasn’t going to take my hug in the classroom tomorrow.  I was going to save it.  Save it for sometime when he’s writing my name and about to draw a circle with a slash through it…then at that moment, I’m going to cash in my hug.

He cackled.

May 232009

Lately, been having conversations about people and donations. Just a philosophy in life I suppose. But donations, paying extra for service and tipping in general seem related…

A different conversation made me wonder about being so price conscious on things (before I buy things online, I usually search for coupons for that store…just today I saved 30% off an item cause I spent 5 minutes trying out various promotional codes).  We were talking about REI versus Any Mountain.  Recently, I was impressed with the staff at REI – they gave me some spare parts to attach a rear bike rack for my bike that doesn’t have mounts.  These are spare parts that come from a rack I did not buy from them.  Well, I bought a rack from them, but it was a different rack.  And I found out that they’re a co-op that will give you back 10% of your money spent with them on an annual basis – it just comes as a credit to be used in the store.

So I was kind of bullish on them from a little encounter. Sharing that story and someone else brings up that they used to work at REI and the people there are the best, but that they use REI to do the research and learn about what to buy, then go buy it from Any Mountain.  Any Mountain, when I’ve been in it, is kind of a mess.  Dishevled.  They agreed and called Any Mountain the Fry’s of sporting goods.  Which makes complete sense.  I don’t really like making any substantial purchase at Fry’s, cause I know they’re a little dicey.  But I like their convenience and their prices.

Which got me to thinking about why do I worry about a dollar or five here and there from store to store?  Sports Basement had the same rack that REI had for 3 dollars less, but they didn’t have as good a selection of panniers and I wasn’t gonna drive back and forth between the two for a couple of bucks (especially when the whole point of buying this stuff was to ride my bike instead of drive…)  So convenience was the selling point – not the service.

Yet I’ll tip 15-20% on reasonable service for a meal.  25% on excellent (they didn’t visibly complain while Sal was making a mess and calling for his dog to eat the food off the floor…and screaming when no dog came).  So why wouldn’t I pay an extra couple of percent to support a store that gives much better service?

So REI’s my store now.

And yes, the 10% kick back is really the main reason.  But it sounds like a better story if I phrase it like I’m supporting their overall company vision.

Biking to soccer practiceSal did get some really great biking gloves for 7 bucks there too – decked out in them over to the left.

But this whole tipping/service thing really hit home in Vegas.  There was a decent roll and afterwards, for the come out roll, I wanted to bet the world for me and the dealers.  And I had been messing around with $5 chips in my hand for most of the time cause that was usually all I had, but this was post decent roll and I had $25 chips in my hand, so since I didn’t look at my hands, I threw out 2 $25 chips for the bet.  I started to call it back, but then felt that would be cheap and so I let the bet stand.

First roll was a 7.  Which means you lose $20 and the other $5 pays $20 and the bet stays. Some dealers in some places take that $25 bet down since it was a winning bet, but some let the bet ride.  These dealers discussed it a bit, some wanting to pocket the $25, others wanting to risk it for more. They kept the bet alive.

Next roll was a 3.  Which means you lose $20 and the other $5 pays $75.  For my bet, they’ll take $20 off the $75 and leave my $25 bet there and give me $55 in change.  The dealers took their $80 and were pleased with the way things turned out. Since I got my $50 back for the initial bet for the 2 of us plus $5 and the dealers got an $80 tip, the bet was a positive all around.  And I still had $25 on the world bet.

Normally, I press these things.  But normally, I’m betting $5 on them.  So I’d throw another $10 there to press mine to $10 and put the dealers back on for $5.  I wasn’t going to do that with $25 chips though.

Next roll was a 12.  So I lost $20 and the other $5 pays $150.  They put $20 back on the world and pay me $130.  And the dealers complain to each other for taking their bet down…

…and I am reassured about the karma in tipping.

(Next roll was a 6 so there were no further lessons to be learned…)

May 192009

We were in an elevator once and my sister had a gambling addiction flier and one of the questions on the flier to help you decide if you had a gambling problem was if you avoided friends and family to gamble. My sister looked around the elevator and saw she was with friends and family and confidently said “Nope!”

So I’m wondering if booking a trip last minute to spend 13 hours on the ground in Vegas, with only about 3 or 4 of those with a non-sleeping and non-working spouse would be a sign that one has a gambling problem. But I’m pretty sure that’s not on the flier.

Also, I could spend more time there with a non-sleeping, non-working spouse if I was to take an earlier flight, except that would conflict with kettlebell class…just to clarify the priorities of my addictions.

Feb 202009

Craps brings out the most fun superstitions and paranoia within me.

I was off on the stickman changes.  Cost me a $120 6 or 8 and a $50 5.  No biggie.

Within the first 3 minutes at the table, the dude next to me stole my come bet.  Not that he did it intentionally I think, he’s just a careless gambler, fumbling about with his money. Still, didn’t seem like the right way to start a session off at a table.  Except on a Tuesday night at the Peppermill in Reno they only have 1 table open.  With blue dice.  So I stayed.  And I bet my progression on the 4 and 10 and occasionally, starting with a $5 bet, they’d get into the hundreds.  And my bet stealing buddy would talk me up on my bet to the point when they hit, he’d want to high-five me.  And I’d just stare at him blankly.  But to avoid any further awkwardness with his raised hand, he’d pat me on the back.  Private space man…private space.

Tipping the dealers.  Bet across for them too.  They had an interesting habit there at the Peppermill.  When I’d place the bet for the point for them next to my pass bet, they’d pay it off as a place bet.  Then they’d leave the $5 bet there as a pass line bet for the next point.  And they’d pay themselves for the 7 and 11.  Then when the next point came up, it was a place bet again, getting paid place money instead of pass money.  I didn’t complain.  Just noticed it and thought it was the smart way the play.

They did also lose a $25 bet of mine somewhere during the hot roll. But it seemed like a worthless point to bring up during the roll.

I didn’t tip the really hot roller (about 40 minutes), though looking at his rack, he didn’t seem to make much money. I wasn’t paying attention to how he bet.  I felt a little guilty about it while cashing out, but figured he must have been ratholing some of it away or something.  I was one 10 away from hitting the table limit…but the limit was only 1k.  Still, it’s a goal of mine. And starting from a $5 bet, not so bad.

Catherine sent me back down to play blackjack for her, since she wanted to “work”.  Won $125 on that, but it just wasn’t fun. Maybe it was the annoying drunks at the table, except you get that in craps too.  Maybe it’s the cozy feel of the table that makes annoying drunks that much more annoying.  Went to cash out, cause you know, it was late.  Like 10:30 or something.  I’m old.  It’s also a lot easier to go sleep when I’m up than it is when I’m down.

Ran into the hot roller, who asked me how I did.  Now, he kind of knows how I did, cause when you color up, they announce it to the table. So I said I really appreciated his roll.  And I asked him how he did.  He said he made 1o bucks.  Which seemed like the right ball park. I mean, he probably meant for the session or something, cause on his roll, it would have been pretty hard to make only $10.  He busted a don’t better out of over $500.  I think you’d need to be betting just a 6 or 8 and hopping numbers constantly to make only $10.  So it’s hard to make just $10, but I wasn’t going to argue with him.  Or even critique his style.  I just gave him $100 and thanked him for the roll.

Now, the part that didn’t have anything to do with the tipping, since that was the way my daddy raised me (just that I’m slow on the social ettiquette of it all) was that when I looked him in the eyes early on in the conversation, the conversation was much harder to maintain because they were crosseyed.  Really crosseyed.  Not like a lazy eye or anything. They were both on very different planes, so much so that I couldn’t even tell which to look at. Just made the conversation that much more awkward.

But he found the craps table again and when I had finished cashing out, I thought what the hell.

Well, lightning didn’t strike twice and Catherine lost her blackjack money.  Though me and the hot roller exchanged head nods as I left the table.

I still left up a significant amount.  An amount that on previous trips has meant jewelry for my dearest loved one.  But that’s gotten old and she doesn’t even wear the items that much anymore, so I was thinking of getting a T-Mobile 8900 for myself without the contract and paying that full equipment price.  $500 for a phone is kind of ridiculous.  That is, untill you look at the 8900.  But I can’t do that.  It’d offend too many other parts of my personality.  Especially since I could by an AT&T one in a few months or so and just renew my contract to get a discounted price.

But maybe I’ll get a custom paint job for the 8900…

Feb 212008

Okay – the Idol is back.

Last year, Ben was talking trash (or skills) about how he knew who would win, after just seeing them all sing once.

Turns out, he didn’t. Shawn and Kari did.

So we’re back again, another season, another pool.

Rules are:

  • picks must be in by 5p PT on Feb 21 (before the east coast airing shows).
  • $20 bucks to make a set of picks.
  • You pick 5 contestants.
  • 1 point for the 1st person kicked off…2 points for the 2nd person kicked off…up to 24 points for the winner.
  • Choose one of your 5 contestants as the Golden Idol – whatever points they get, get doubled.
  • New this year – when we get to single elimination nights (3 weeks from now?) you can pick who’s going to get kicked off each week. If you’re right, you get 10 points. New pick made each week.
  • Person with most points gets 80% of the pool.
  • Person with 2nd most points get 20% of the pool.
  • Use your own intuition – and your intuition cannot be to go read other blogs. Honor code!
  • Only 1 pickset per person (I don’t agree with that, but others wanted it that way)

Send me a message if you want in.

Aug 262007

So I was scanning the lines yesterday, thinking who bets on preseason football, when I noticed most games were high scoring. Good versus bad matchups must be popular and so I was really tempted by the over 35.5 line for the Eagles and Steelers. Forget who was gonna win the game, just that there should be lots of give-away points.

Then I watched the Jets-Giants struggle to score points. I started the internal debate that usually leads to bad bets. Finally figuring it was a good way to spend time with minimal risk, I went to the sportsbook.

“110 on the over for 290”

They must have been scared by my savvy…

“Computers are down, come back in a little while.”

They were down through the start of the game, into the 2nd quarter even. But I think only 3 points were scored in the 1st quarter, so at that point, I thought maybe the computers saved me some money.

But sitting down now in a bar waiting for my flight, I saw with 1:43 a fumble get returned for a TD making the total 39, before the extra point.

So the conspiracy is back in full effect…if you hear the computers are down, go find a real sportsbook. I was at NYNY.